Sewing Day

Leanne wanted to sew “a heart” today. She drew a heart on paper, then I showed her how to transfer, cut and fuse her design to fabric.

She machine-stitched around the heart - she already knew to leave the needle down before adjusting the fabric - and did a great job zigzagging the curves. 

I cut a backing, then she pinned the pieces, sewed them together and turned her pillow right-side out.

I started to explain using a chopstick to push the corners out but she gave me The Look and said, “I remember this, Grandma.”

She stuffed it herself and hand-stitched the last seam closed.

Leanne is pretty proud of her creation - and so am I. 

I’m especially proud that she did the whole thing herself, from concept to final stitch, except for cutting the backing fabric (rotary cutters + 8 year old = nervous grandma) and knotting the thread for her hand-stitching. It will be interesting to see what she wants to make next.


Zoo Day

We really lucked out on weather this trip - San Diego temps were in the mid to high 60’s, overcast with just a little breeze. Perfect for outdoor adventures.

The day started off with what could have been a big problem. While we were getting directions to the tour bus, Leanne slid her finger through the metal eye-screw for a gate latch and got it stuck. Really stuck. By the time she told us, her finger was starting to swell where she’d tried to pull it out. And of course, people were backing up behind our little log jam. I had visions of paramedics and bolt cutters and long explanations to her mom from an ER bed. The volunteer helping us opened another gate for those behind us while I liberally applied chapstick to Leanne’s finger and the metal. A few twists, a maybe-not-so-gentle-ish tug and she was free. Like the nice volunteer said, “I’ve never seen anything like that before!”

Fortunately, things got better from there. 

We saw lots of animals

including a close-up look at Leanne’s favorite, the cheetah, 

and this very cool secretarybird, a raptor with the body of an eagle and the legs of a crane, that looked like something straight out of a Harry Potter movie.

The girls climbed

and played 

and Leanne got the henna tattoo she desperately wanted (after Leia got one yesterday).

We rode little buses and double decker buses

and the sky-tram twice

just because it was so. much. fun.

But the best part of the day, for me anyway,

was sitting on a quiet, shaded bench 

watching mama hippo and her 2-year-old son do absolutely nothing except rise occasionally to the surface for synchronized breathing. Wish I could have stayed there all day.



We’d promised the big girls a trip this summer, so as soon as Father’s Day lunch was finished on Sunday, we packed up the DVD players - plus some new movies from Target - and headed for San Diego. 

 A little stir crazy after 3.5 hours in freeway grid-lock

We were in line when SeaWorld opened today at 10 a.m. 

and made it until 8:30 p.m. before calling it quits.

We petted sharks,

and dolphins 

and manta rays (this one swam directly to Leia and hung around for multiple pats. The boy next to her said it was due to Leia’s nail polish, which made me laugh.)

We saw shows with pilot whales (they’re in the same family as dolphins - who knew??),

orcas -

including the famous Shamu pose -

and sea lions (Clyde and Seamore have a new show. I wasn’t crazy about it but the girls loved it.)

The girls sat in the splash zone for every show

and didn’t complain about being cold and wet.

We admired a flamboyance of flamingos, including one proud mama tending her egg;

a tunnel of sharks, 

and checked how the girls measured up to dolphins.

We did all that and still had time for face painting, 

henna tattoos,

glow fish

and rides,


and more rides.

The girls would happily have stayed the full 12 hours 

but Pop and I need our rest - for tomorrow is Zoo Day!


My Helper

Jackie “helped” me organize the patriotic pieces on the design board.

So proud of herself. 


Pelican Rainbow

My 10-years-younger sister had a mild heart attack a few months ago*

and a milestone birthday in May

so it seemed the perfect time to make her a quilt. (Kind of a long-distance hug, stretching from California to Pennsylvania.)

Jennifer asked for rainbow colors and pelicans - a favorite of our mom’s. 

I was surprised at how difficult it was to find pelican fabric - the print above was pretty much my only choice. I guess pelicans have gone out of style in the last 30-odd years. 

So, it wasn’t a big surprise that there were no quilting designs with pelicans either. But there is now! My quilting pal contacted the company she gets her pantos from and they custom made a pelican design for us. So awesome - I’m still amazed. Doesn’t it look great??!

The quilt was delivered Friday and Jen called to say she loves it. Success!

* Jen’s doctor says she will be fine and the damage is reversible, if she quits smoking (done), takes her meds (done) and stops eating salt (harder, but working on it).


Leia’s Graduation

Leia graduated from 5th grade on Wednesday 

with a short ceremony - she also received a perfect attendance award for the last quarter -

lunch in the park and a class bowling party. 

Then she had to go back to class for 2 more days

until school was officially out for the summer. I’m guessing not a lot was accomplished but  rulz are rulz. 

Leia’s both excited and apprehensive about going to a new school next year. We keep telling her everything will be fine, but I don’t think she believes us yet. 

 Cousins, celebrating the school year’s end